It has been years since I’ve made panna cotta! The last time I made it was in 2016 and I didn’t double the recipe. As a result, we did not share it with the kids. This time, I knew better and wanted them to be able to try the panna cotta, so I doubled the recipe and used smaller serving dishes. 4 ounce mason jars worked great for this recipe. They held just the right amount of panna cotta.
Panna cotta is a gelatin dessert that is like a creamy jello but tastes so much better! One plus for me is that it doesn’t require baking, just some standing at the stove for a few minutes.
Since the recipe I used is from one of my favorite cookbooks – Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan, I’m not going to post it here. But I will post a link to a similar recipe. Just don’t make the strawberry jam or topping, replace the buttermilk with regular whole milk and add a tablespoon of vanilla extract, or steep the milk mixture with a whole vanilla bean instead.
My first step to make these elegant desserts was to melt the pomegranate jelly on the stovetop over low heat so that I could evenly layer it onto the bottom of the jelly jars and ramekins. While melting the jelly, make sure to stir and watch it! I used Josh’s pomegranate jelly that he made for us late last year. I ended up using about half of a pint jar of pomegranate jelly for five jelly jars and six ramekins.
Then, I brought 2 cups milk, 2 cups cream, and 1/2 cup of sugar to a boil on the stovetop over medium heat. One step I did stray from in the recipe: instead of pouring the hot cream mixture over the bloomed and liquified gelatin, I poured the liquified gelatin into the hot cream mixture on the stovetop, then added the vanilla extract. The gelatin ended up clumping just a little bit when I poured it into hot cream mixture. I continued to cook the cream and gelatin mixture over low heat until the clumps had disappeared. Then I removed the mixture from the heat and let it cool for 20 minutes before ladling it into the serving dishes.
It is important that you ladle the mixture into the serving dishes. I tried to pour directly from the pot into the serving dishes, but the force was too much for the jelly layer. I had one panna cotta that did not have a visible jelly layer because of that. Since this was just for my family, no one noticed the mess-up, but I would definitely ladle the mixture into the dishes if I were making this for a party.
After 2 to 3 hours in the fridge, we were able to have these for dessert. I had made enough that all of 8 of us were able to have our own for dessert that day. Then 3 of us were each able to have one for dessert the next day (they were just as good even after another day in the fridge).
Most of the kids enjoyed the panna cotta. I only had two who weren’t too sure about it. Of course, Josh and I enjoyed them! Maybe next time we won’t share with the kids and it can be an adults-only dessert (and older teenagers).